Red-crested Turaco - Extra Information
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A pair of my Red-crested (Webmaster)
27/07/04 Louise Peat from the Cotswold Wildlife Park writes about their Red-crested Turacos:
Photo by Dave Edgington.
Early in 2004 work began with re-glazing the Cotswold Wildlife Parks Tropical House, which meant empting the enclosure of all flora and fauna and giving us an opportunity to rethink the internal design. The brief was to improve the visitors experience and to landscape and plant the enclosure to provide an improved environment for both ground and canopy dwelling birds.
For the first time we have decided to introduce a turaco species into the newly re-furbished Tropical House. A breeding pair of Red-crested Turacos (Tauraco erythrolophus) were moved from an enclosure within the Walled Garden. They have quickly settled in their new environment and are un-phased by either the visitors presence or the other bird species, which include Southern Plovers (Vanellus chilensis), Hottentot Teal (Anas punctata), Sunbittern (Eurypyga helias), Blue-bellied Roller (Coracias cyanogaster), Snowy-headed Robin Chat (Cossypha niveicapilla) and Pheasant Pigeons (Otidiphaps n. nobilis).
It is a magnificent sight seeing the turacos in flight at close range with unrestricted viewing. Equally, the birds appear to be impressed with their new enclosure. They are extremely active and very showy.
Photo by Dave Edgington.
Husbandry Guidelines for the Red-crested Turaco 2007
Compiled by Louise Peat (Registrar for the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens)
Maintaining and breeding the Red-Crested Turaco
The turacos are kept in large, densely planted aviaries, providing them with an ideal mini-habitat in which to exercise and breed. Each aviary has a indoor shed which is heated.
The zoo is extremely fortunate to have at their disposal a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. Once a day the turaco fruit is prepared and offered to the birds. The diet consists of mango, papaya, grapes, apple, pear, banana, passion fruit, tomato, plum, melon, kiwi and a homemade soft-bill mix. This mix consists of a fruit based low iron soft-bill mix, an insectivorous soft-bill mix, wholemeal breadcrumbs, grated egg and grated carrot. When in season fruits such as figs and pomegranates are also offered.
In addition to the daily food bowls the birds are offered a piece of fruit spiked on a twig somewhere within the main aviary flight. This fruit is hidden somewhere within the front of the flight to encourage natural foraging and allows the visitors to enjoy watching them feed at close range.
Occasionally insect food is offered in the form of the humble mealworm. Not all individuals participate in insect feeds but it has been noted that some, especially those with chicks are rather partial to a mealworm or two. Other live food has been refused by the birds with rare exception - such items being crickets and locusts of varying age.
For the breeding season the diet remains as mentioned above. If a successful hatch has occurred then additional quantities are provided and the fruit prepared in a finer size. The breeding behaviour of the Red-crested Turaco is true to the family and involves a great deal of courtship and what some would term 'play'. As the birds here in Jersey are excellent parents we allow them to parent rear. Hand rearing of this species has been successfully carried out over the years, but parent rearing is preferentially practised.
The birds do show a definite preference for nesting in baskets within the aviary flight vegetation, rather than within the shed area. The nest baskets offered range in size from six to twelve inches diameter. The depth also varies from a couple of inches to approximately six. The birds show interest in any basket presented and have used the full size range of structures. The nest is lined with soft hay and whilst the birds arrange this according to their taste little additional material is added. Both the sexes show interest in nest arrangement and share the incubation in roughly equal parts.
The turacos here in Jersey share their aviaries with other species with little or no conflict. Two of our pairs cohabit with White-crowned Robinchats (Cossypha albicapilla) and the third pair shares with Black Bulbuls (Hypsipetes madagascariensis), Edwards Pheasant (Lophura edwardsi) and Madagascar Teal (Anas bernieri). All these species have bred in the shared aviaries without warfare.
I'd finally just like to thank David Jeggo for approving the piece.
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